BUCKDEN PARISH’S ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS AND FINDS

by Barry Jobling 2021 ©

Buckden has a rich archaeological history.  Below, Barry outlines some of the major archaeological finds in and around Buckden, including the now nationally important Lucks Lane site.

 
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PREHISTORIC TIMES

Archaeological excavations have been carried out in and around Buckden for over 100 years and have revealed a surprising record of humans living here for over 400,000 years.  The earliest finds have been two Stone Age Palaeolithic flint hand axes, one found between Vineyard Way and the sports field and the other near the junction of Church Street and Silver Street, both made and used by early Homo Sapiens. 
The Acheulean Hand Axe (above), approximately 7 x 5 inches of c.400,000 BC, was found in a Vineyard Way garden c1980, but was taken to Australia when the finder emigrated there.
Of similar dates, c.600,000-200,000 BC, are flint blades and a reindeer antler tool found in a field north-east of Silver Street and Bishops Way and mammoth teeth found in gravel pits on Margett’s Farm near the River Great Ouse.
A Bronze Age (c.2,500-1,000 BC) settlement was uncovered by the A14 dig north of Mill Road in 2015 and another north-east of Bishops Way in 2016.  Margett’s Farm includes an Iron Age (c.800 BC–42 AD) settlement.

 
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THE ROMAN PERIOD
(43-410 AD)

Also at Margett’s Farm are traces of a Roman settlement and vineyard.  The remains of further Roman structures have been found at the Stirtloe Lane and Leadens Lane junction, in fields north-east of Silver Street and Bishops Way, and another containing significant pottery and tiles found in the 1960s adjacent to Bishops Way and Greenway.  Other Roman remains were uncovered in Silver Street in the 1970s.  Roman coins from the 2nd to 4th centuries have been recovered near the Manor House, the church and Towers, Monks Cottages, and several in Church Street.

Above, a Roman settlement in Cambridgeshire.  Courtesy of www.histeco.com.

 
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THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD
(C.900-1600 AD)

A 10th century, boat-shaped possibly Viking building was excavated during construction of the present A1 just north of the roundabout in 1961, now under the northbound carriageway.  Norman and medieval (1066-1600 AD) sites were excavated in the Towers in the 1920s and of course the parish church contains much medieval material.

Above, A reconstruction of a medieval village.  Courtesy of Google.com

 
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THE LUCKS LANE SITE
(MAINLY OF THE ANGLO-SAXON PERIOD
C.400-1066 AD)

The 2019 major excavation by Oxford Archaeology East off Lucks Lane (now the Bloor Homes site) revealed Buckden to be an important village in times past, indicated by the fifty Bronze Age cremations dating to around 1,400 BC recovered from the north of the site near the Shell Garage suggesting another Bronze Age settlement possibly between there and the parish church. 
The whole site will take several years to evaluate, but initial thoughts are included in these notes.
Also noted were Roman ditches, quarries, pottery, coins, and tiles, indicating a high-status Roman building or baths nearby in the vicinity of The Osiers, the cemetery and/or the Surgery.
The most remarkable discovery was a large, high-status Anglo-Saxon estate dating from c.400 to c.850 AD, between Lucks Lane and the A1, which likely extends towards the village centre of the church and Towers.  Current thought is that the Anglo-Saxon estate and village may have had monastic links or possible Mercian royal connections. 
King Penda of the Mercians conquered the Angles of this area in 653 AD and installed his son Paeda as ruler of Middle Anglia; they brought missionaries with them and converted the population to Christianity.
The significant quantity and quality of finds from this period are much scarcer than from Roman or Norman times and are nationally important in completing our knowledge of these ‘Dark Ages’.  
The estate remains include the largest Anglo-Saxon long hall (in occupation c.600-c.850 AD) so far found in Britain, the largest Saxon living/working buildings (sunken-featured buildings, c.400-c.650 AD) in Britain, a probable malting/brewing house, possible early tithe barns and almost twenty other significant structures and features.  A related, large early Anglo-Saxon (c.400-650 AD) double-ditched enclosure was found which extended under Springfield Close and The Osiers. 
Significant Anglo-Saxon finds included a 9th century Christian cross brooch, an inscribed needle case, coins, pottery, knives, glass, combs, weaving and other tools. 
Of national importance was the plough coulter, radiocarbon dated to 770-890 AD, which shows that this implement was used in England over 200 years before previously believed.  The coulter helped dig a deeper and stronger furrow, meaning that a larger yield could be obtained and thus provide crops for trading rather than just survival.
The BLHS has been successful in obtaining grants to research and fund an exhibition about the Lucks Lane site in the Village Hall in Spring 2022, followed by a semi-permanent display in Buckden Library.

 

BUCKDEN'S ARCHAEOLOGICAL FINDS

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ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND

In AD 700, Bucgedene was part of Middle Anglia

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LUCKS LANE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE

Between April 2019 and January 2020 Oxford Archaeology East carried out excavations in the south west corner of Buckden, bounded by Lucks Lane and Stirtloe Lane

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PICTURES OF THE FINDS

To see a number of the important finds that were made click below and then click on the first picture to enlarge the image.  Press right arrow for next picture.

 

ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXHIBITION

What was Buckden like 1,500 years ago?

With many thanks to Barry Jobling, an Anglo-Saxon Buckden Exhibition was held at the Village Hall.  Included were explanatory posters, slide shows, souvenir leaflets, some of the finds and a Lego model of the largest Great Hall so far discovered in Britain

The exhibition ran from Saturday 30th April 2022 - Tuesday 3rd May 2022

The Lego model is currently being displayed in the library.  The posters will remain on display in the Millard Suite, Village Hall.

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ANGLO-SAXON DISCOVERIES

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ANGLO-SAXON BUCKDEN

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VISIT THE ANGLO-SAXON BUCKDEN EXHIBITION

Finds of National Importance

See the remains of an important Anglo-Saxon estate including the largest early Anglian Hall yet discovered in Britain.  Additionally, there were many other structures including homes, craft working areas, barns, stockades and a macabre find at the bottom of a well!

Bucgedene

Anglo-Saxon Buckden, Bucgedene, was the site of a high-status estate dating from 450AD to 850AD.  
It is possible that King Penda of Mercia who, in 650AD, conquered Middle Anglia spent time in Bucgedene and may even have installed his son, Paeda, here.

Come and See

See explanatory posters, slide shows, souvenir leaflets, some of the finds and a Lego model of the largest Great Hall so far discovered in Britain